Farmer’s Lament

It’s been a long, hot, brutal summer here in Texas, and as if that weren’t enough, wildfires are flaring up all over the state, fueled by the dry grass and parched trees. I wrote this poem many years ago—probably during another drought—but it sure fits this year. Most years, I’m sorry to see summer fade into fall, because I love to go play in the many lakes around the state. But this year, I’m ready for summer to be gone; I’ve had enough heat and fire, and Lord we need some rain.

Posting this on Kellie Elmore’s Magic in the Backyard blog for the Free Write Friday feature. Stop by and visit Kellie’s blog if you have time. She’s one fine poet! Also posting to Gooseberry Garden’s Poetry Picnic.


Farmer’s Lament


Sun hot on the back of my neck

Sweat dripping off my brow

I rock to the beat of the ol’ poppin’ Johnny

Got a thousand acres to plow


Dry stubble as far as I can see

Too dry, the corn couldn’t take it

Lost most of the cotton crop too

Don’t know how we’re gonna make it


The bank called again this mornin’

Their demands every week get stronger

Cows so thin you can see right through ‘em

And me…. I can’t take this much longer


The wife got a job last week

Part time at the grocery store

She’s a trooper, tryin’ to pitch in

Says, don’t worry, we been here before


I know it, but it don’t make it no better

Words don’t much ease the pain

‘cause I’m plowin’ this year’s crop under

Prayin’ next year we’ll get some rain

Copyright © 1998 C. Mashburn


  1. Thanks for the beautiful contribution as wel as the kind comment about my blog! Much love! Xox

  2. 😦 hmmm a farmer’s life, at the mercy of mother nature…there is much respect there and maybe humility, to know that man doesn’t really own his own life as he thinks

    Happy gooseberry day!

    • You are so right, but life is like that no matter what your occupation.
      Thanks for the visit and great comments.

  3. Morning said

    steaming heat could lead to sickness.

    it is hard for farmers.

    love Lynna’s interpretation, well done.

    • Yes, it is a hard life, but most of them I know would not trade it for anything else.
      Thank you for the visit and comments!

  4. swanrose said

    life can be hard in so many ways for so many people. this represents a struggle well

  5. Kay Salady said

    Excellent writing, Charles. xoXox

  6. Farmers either get too much rain or, not enough. Farmers here sometimes complain we don’t get enough snow. I’d never heard that one before but, the snow soaks deep into the ground and stay there to help things grow in spring. Nature, is such a wonderous thing!
    Lovely prose.

    • Yes, it has always been this way with rain. The snow is maybe even better, because it is a slow soaking moisture.
      Thanks for the great comments!

  7. mairmusic said

    I teach a course that touches on the Dustbowl of the 1930s. The rain and drought are cyclical, and so are the woes of the farmers. Nice write.

    • Yes, they are cyclical. A hard life, but a good one.
      Thanks for the visit and comments!

  8. vivid capture of a farm under a drought alike weather ..

    humans need fair love,
    plants need fair weather,
    fish need water,
    fruits needs rain…

    without those, everyone is in pain.

  9. Dave said

    I like the rhyme. Thanks Charles.

  10. tigerbrite said

    Sad one but well put together. Hard life.

  11. pure2core said

    I need to learn a lot from you very simpler yet crisp words… Thanks for share

  12. An engaging and evocative piece, masterfully written.

    Here is my entry

  13. thingy said

    Yeah, it’s a tough life, the farmer. And for Texans.

    Poignant write, Charles.

    • It’snot always bad here. Texas farmers and ranchers have some good years. This one has been especially tough, though.
      Thanks for the visit and comments!

  14. Seabell said

    Your words remember me of the African drought. It is curious how distant people face the same situation… Well said!

    • Yes, it is the same rain that falls or doesn’t fall, all over the world.
      Thanks for the visit and comments!

  15. Thank you for stopping by. Your poem is beautiful.

  16. I love your dedication to the voice in this one. Good job.

  17. edpilolla said

    i especially like the country twang you so melodiously installed throughout this. i can only imagine it was organic and not something you outlined beforehand. quite good.

    • Hey! That’s how I talk! And, yes, everything you see from me is organic. I’ve never written an outline for anything I write–not even novels. What you see is typically what came out–especially with poetry.
      Thanks for the awesome comments. I truly appreciate them!

  18. terri0729 said

    Charles, Sadly and remarkedly true to life for many these days. Well done in the imagery. I really liked it! Blessings and peace, Terri

    • It’s been a rough year for many–not just farmers.
      Thanks for the comments, Terri. Always nice when yoou drop by!

  19. Annette said

    I like this one a lot. I don’t know if you are in Texas but I had an instant image of what it is like there now — with the starving cattle, etc. Thank you also for all your kind comments on my blog.

    • Yes, we are in the heart of Texas. No rain, and fires everywhere. Thankfully, most of the fires are under control now.
      You’re welcome, and thank you for the visit and comments!

  20. It’s always such a journey visiting you! Like a little education … I like the poem, but I don’t like the idea of summer going away … that terrifies me every year! I’m not ready to let go off summer yet …

    • Normally, I don’t like to see summer end, but this year, it’s been so hot and dry, I’m ready for a change. Wee will (like the farmer in the poem) hope for a better summer next year.
      Thanks for the wonderful comments!

  21. chimnese said

    this was a great poem….liked teh combination of words.

  22. fiveloaf said

    nice charles! my potluck..

  23. Well done. This sound sound exactly like what it must feel like in Texas about now. Know you guys are having a tough time of it. Stay safe …

    • Thanks! We will be alright. All things pass.
      Appreciate the visit and comments!

  24. Rosie said

    You’ve portrayed the voice of the farmer perfectly. If I didn’t know better, I’d have thought you were a farmer. Your farmer’s lament is so authentic!

    • I’m not a farmer, but I grew up in a farm town and have lived around and known farmers all my life. If I’d had a way to do it when I was younger, I would love to have been a frmer.
      Thanks for the wonderful comment/compliments, Rosie. I appreciate them very much!

  25. My Grandparents were farmers and we still farm the lands in Texas like they did what a hard life this one is especially when you have to deal with elements of nature.

    • Yes’m, it can be a tough way to go, especially when years like this one come along. Hope it gets better soon. There’s rain in the forecast next week. I hope they’re not teasing us again.
      Thanks again for the comments. Really enjoy your visits!

  26. Miss Kitten said

    Well written, Charles. You captured the farmer’s frustration so well. I once wrote a poem called “Teacher’s Lament” which I haven’t posted yet. Guess I should. 🙂

    Here’s my potluck piece this week:

    • Thanks, Miss Kitten. I know lots of farmers and worked on farms when I was a teenager. It’s a hard life sometimes. But it has it’s rewards and good times, too.
      Yes, you need to post that poem. I’m curious now!
      Thanks for dropping by! Love the comments!

  27. Hope said

    You have captured and expressed the hard life of a farmer very well. the struggles with the elements that depict our seasons.
    well done!

    and thank you for your visit and comment!
    take care!

  28. lolamouse said

    I can hear this one set to music. Sounds like a slow ballad. I like it a lot.

    • Others have said that about it, and I might just see what I can do with it. I sing a bit, but don’t play a guitar. Have friends that do, though, so I might have to sit down with one of them and see what we can come up with. I’m sure I’ll let everyone know if I follow through on it!
      Thanksagain for the great visits, reads and awesome comments! You’re the best!

  29. This is an awesome piece Charles! Not only I love the colloquialism and rhythm in it, but also the painful message it transmits: the harshness of mother nature, and the determination of the human soul not to give up on life! Excellent, really! Thanks for sharing. … it reminds me of the hardworking farmers from my own country who yearlong toil on their farm lands, most of the time nature failing them disappointingly. Yet they never give up ploughing.

    • Thank you so much for those beautiful comments and compliments, Elyas. I am very pleased that you enjoyed this and it caused you to reflect on so many things. Bless you for this wonderful visit to my blog!

  30. Well done here and striking ! yeah I know the feeling…farming with Gods wishes! humane and hearttfelt!

  31. I can imagine this as a song, makes me think of Johnny Cash.

    Another brilliant piece Charles.

  32. Pat Cegan said

    Wonderfully done. Reminds me of the stories about the Depression. My family were farmers and I have seen my dad plow under a perfect crop of cucumbers and watermelon because the prices at the market were too low to even pay the workers to pick them. In those days, nobody picked and gave to poor families. hugs, pat

    • I’ve heard of things like that, and it never ceases to amaze me how that can happen. Life is mighty strange sometimes.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  33. Hi Charles Mashburn

    Yes the frustration and pain of not being in control.. though one is doing what one can do….
    I liked your words and the bond that you have had …

    “She’s a trooper, tryin’ to pitch in
    Says, don’t worry, we been here before”

    hope is something that always keeps us going.. I am happy to see you here and I look forward to seeing you again…
    Thanks for sharing…

    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Om Namah Shivaya
    At twitter @VerseEveryDay

  34. Manoj Kewalramani said

    Really nicely done Charles. I’ve extensively covered rural India as a journalist and yeah, this resonates here too…

    • I think this kind of struggle resonates in all places and in many other circumstances, as well.
      Thanks for the thoughtful comments, Manoj!

  35. Ironically this reminds me of Johnny Cash’s “Five Feet High and Rising”, probably because of the country sound to it. Good capture of harsh times. Great read.
    The Lonely Recluse.

  36. belladonna23 said

    reminds me of one of my favorite songs.. i enjoyed this very much.

    “nightblindness” by david gray

    • That is a beautiful song. I’m going to have to see about putting this one to music. Thanks!

  37. Mr. Watson said

    Amazing write. I could feel EVERY word…. ! Love it !

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